Sunday nights local derby saw an absorbing contest, much enjoyed by the biggest crowd of the season. Despite the 5 goal margin between the teams, the Widnes squad battled hard to tie the first and third periods of the game against talented opponents, currently occupying second place in the Northern Laidler Conference.
The red shirted Dragons -. roared on by a big following, took a sixth minute lead from hot shot James Parsons He fired low past Greg Ruxton from a Gary Dixon pass. An equaliser came in the thirteenth minute when Wild’s Shaun Dipnall found the net from a Bobby Caunce pass. Then followed an end to end encounter, with Widnes outshooting Deeside by 19 -11.
The second period opened in similar fashion but the deadlock was broken in the 24th minute with a second James Parsons goal. Failure to clear the puck led to Dragons restoring an advantage as the puck was deflected in off a skate. The game was effectively lost between the 27th and 29th minutes, Widnes conceding two vital goals when reduced to three skaters, due to tripping and charging penalties. The Dragons power play, recognised as one of the best in the league, took full advantage with low powerful shots from the blue line being tipped in near Greg Ruxton’s left hand post for further goals from Michael Jones and Peter Gazda. Further goals from Andrew Chappell and the outstanding Marc Lovell, saw the visitors hold a five goal advantage at the end of the second period.
The final period, delayed due to a flooded ice surface, saw the home side throw everything into attack. Urged on by the home crowd, they mounted waves of attack, sadly missing golden opportunities when it looked easier to score than miss ! The Widnes forwards played their most constructive hockey of the game but met with fierce resistance from a well organised Dragons defence. George Cox, in the Dragons goal, was a deserved MVP winner, pulling off a string of fine saves to prevent Wild adding to their goal tally.
Just as the crowd appeared to be getting ready to depart and with just three seconds to play, the game came to life as giant Dragons defenceman Mike Jones and feisty Wild forward, Chris Preston slugged it out in centre ice. It brought the big crowd to their feet and sent them home happy after an all action contest in which Widnes were victims of their own indiscipline. New signing Lee Pollitt took the MVP for Wild after his all action display and Bobby Caunce again led his line effectively being unlucky not to be on the score sheet.
Wild are at home again on Sunday evening- January 26th – when former Champions Nottingham Lions make a second visit, the game starting at 18.15. On their last visit, Widnes managed a 2 – 2 draw in a game full of incident.